3 Products Contact Lens Wearers Need to Know About
What’s in those bottles?
I’ve been wearing contact lenses for a long time, but I’ll confess. Sometimes the selection of bottles and boxes of cleaners on the shelf is just plain confusing. Is a multipurpose solution just as good as a disinfecting solution? Can I use my saline solution instead of buying rewetting drops? Which of these bottles are must haves for a contact lens wearer and which are a bonus? Here’s a cheat sheet!
1. Saline Solution:
Saline solution is essentially a fancier version of salt water. (But, this is not to say you should attempt to make your own saline solution at home using salt and water – it will not be sterile enough and could really damage your eyes!) Most contact lens wearers will want to have a bottle of saline solution on hand at all times. Saline is used for rinsing off lenses after they’ve been cleaned, for lubricating a lens that seems to feel dry, and even for rinsing off your finger before you touch your contact lens. You may also want to carry a small bottle of saline solution with you should you drop a lens and need to store it until you get home to clean it.
2. Disinfecting or Multipurpose Solutions:
There are two common types of contact lens cleaning solutions. One is called multipurpose solutions and the others are generally categorized as peroxide based solutions. Both of these solutions are used to clean your contacts and to keep them wet. Most of the multipurpose solutions will clean your lenses (after a little rubbing or another cleaning step in some cases) in about 6 hours. Other, hydrogen peroxide-based solutions will cause a reaction inside the lens case (you’ll hear a fizz sound or see a bubbling reaction). Most of these cleaning systems do best when left overnight or for a minimum of six hours. It’s important to read the directions on each of these types of bottles of cleaners and follow them so that you know your lenses are being cleaned and cared for properly. It’s also important not to try to use these types of solutions to rewet your lenses and to never squirt them in your eyes. Anyone who has ever accidentally squirted cleaner into his or her eyes knows exactly how painful that can be!
3. Rewetting Drops:
Another choice you may see in the contact lens care aisle is a product called rewetting drops. These drops can help moisten your contact lenses while you are wearing them. This type of solution is never a good substitute for a lens cleaner and would not be a cost effective substitute for saline solution. But, if you had no other options, a few of these drops would probably get you by.
Ask the optometrist at your closest America’s Best retailer which brands and types of solutions he or she recommends for your particular types of lenses. If you only wear disposable lenses, you may find little need for cleaning solutions, but will still want to keep rewetting drops and saline on hand, just in case.